Tag Archives: Business Tools


Restrictions are loosening as more of the population becomes fully vaccinated.  Centers are evaluating their policies on physical distancing, mask requirements, vaccine mandates, hiring and recruiting. 

However, one of the biggest concerns (and perhaps opportunity) that has emerged from the pandemic is the rising cost of doing business.  Higher prices are everywhere you turn! 

It’s all over the news.  It started with toilet paper shortages, now it is lumber shortages, fuel shortages, chicken shortages, car shortages, appliance shortages, staffing shortages, all resulting in supply and demand price increases.   AND, Consumers are faced with the same challenges on a personal basis therefore, they are anticipating that businesses will need to adjust pricing accordingly.

So, what about your center?  Have you evaluated your current pricing strategy and taken into account the rising labor costs, higher inventory costs, higher operating costs, higher EVERYTHING?   There is no better time to take a deep dive into the budget and make corrections where necessary before it’s too late.  Every center needs to be rethinking their long-term strategy.  

Some centers have opted to absorb the rising costs to avoid what they perceive will be push back from customers.   However, this can’t be a long term solution with the anticipated continuance of rising prices and shortages.  If your costs are increasing and your prices aren’t, then it is actually like you are implementing a price cut.

Positioning a price increase properly is crucial to consumer acceptance.  Here’s a few things to keep in mind when increasing prices:  

Emphasize the FUN and value instead of the cost/fees.

Price becomes secondary if the experience meets or exceeds expectations.  Utilize system games and features to kick the fun up a notch and increase the perceived value of the experience.   See idea below.

Show genuine appreciation and gratitude.

Feeling appreciated nurtures loyalty.

Be transparent

Candidly share the impact of rising costs to the overall experience.

Promote exceptional service that goes the extra mile

Make sure to deliver exceptional service to every single customer, every single visit.  Weave this into your DNA. 

Focus on convenience.

Customers expect it to be easy to do business with the center and don’t mind paying for it.  If it is difficult to do business with the center, they will simply stop doing so.

Promote quality over quantity.

Spotlight the quality of your restaurant and bar items and talk less about size and quantity, especially if these have decreased.

When price increases are determined and it’s time to put them into effect, another key factor is share with the team the key elements that need to be focused on for the most successful acceptance of the new pricing. 

Another area to look at when evaluating pricing is what is being given away for free…coupons, specials, deals and freebies.  Are they still necessary?  Have you tried to get rid of these things in the past but got push back?  Now might be the perfect time to reduce what you give away and put more money in the register.

When evaluating pricing, you should also take a deep dive into lane utilization and make sure you aren’t leaving money on the table.   Are you offering bowling by time?  Offering time based experiences provides a better guest experience, as very clear expectations are set.  If the center is running a waiting list and lanes are in game option, the undetermined lane turnover time can be a huge disappointment for guests waiting to bowl.  Plus, if 5 people on 1 lane take 1 ¼ – 1 ½ hours to bowl a game, you are missing out on ¼ – ½ hour per lane of revenue if sold by time rather than game.  Why should you lose revenue when customers choose to stop bowling so they can take a 10 minute call for work or go take their child to play a video game?  The pandemic has made it easy to introduce time based experiences and is an easier way to control the circumstances and offer more efficient and more relaxed experiences while providing the best way to maximize your dollars per lane.  

Keep delivering exceptional experiences and adjust pricing when necessary so you can continue serving your customers for years to come.  Bowling is back and is here to stay!

IDEA:  Want to add a little more fun for customers?  Try routinely running Lucky Train during peak times. This graphically appealing feature is engaging for all ages and is a great way to get a little user generated advertising.   It’s simple, Go Live, Get Lucky!  If a customer gets chosen as a Lucky Train winner while streaming live, they get an additional prize or larger prize.

Go Live, Get Lucky Point of Sale Display  

What Message Does Your Website Send?

Most consumers are turning online for information that will help them make smarter purchasing decisions and better entertainment options. According to the eCommerce Foundation, approximately 88% of consumers research product information online before they make a purchase online or in a store. This fact reinforces the importance of a website for today’s businesses. The pandemic has further increased the importance of a website as many consumers are relying on the business website to get information and determine if they are open or closed.

The center website is a valuable part of your business and offers many opportunities.

  • Improves your customer service
  • Saves you time
  • Keeps your customer informed
  • Always open
  • Doorway to the world

Is your website working for you or is it suffering from the “build it and forget it” syndrome? A critical component of any successful website strategy is ongoing maintenance. Research shows that it takes 1/20th of a second for website visitors to form a first impression about your business. What is your center website telling your customers?

When you land on an outdated website you might think:

“Business must be slow, it doesn’t look like the site has been updated in 4 or 5 years.”

“I wonder if they are still in business?”

“Wow, if their website is out of date, their center must be too. I’ll keep looking.”

Is your website hurting your business and driving customers straight to your competitors? What message is your website sending the customers?


Diminishes credibility.

If your website is sparse on content, includes errors and outdated information, your credibility will take a nose-dive.

Makes you appear you’re not “with it”.

A higher value is placed on companies that are professional, well maintained, cutting-edge and in tune with the latest developments in the industry. If this is your center, but your website is not, there is a big disconnect and could be costing your customers.

Makes the competition look great

If the competitor’s website looks better, informs better and establishes credibility and trust faster, you run the risk of losing the customer.

Center appears to not care. If the center website hasn’t been maintained, it must not be important.   Is that the way the center is also?

Quality of the experience is questionable.

New customers don’t have much to go on before deciding to make a call or book online. They use the website to judge you and decide if they want to visit the center.

Can result in a bad customer experience and brings down employee morale.

When customers request expired or outdated coupons, click on links that are broken, see a program that is no longer available, it can lead to a bad customer experience and leaves employees frustrated when customers complain.

Looks like the center is out of business. When customers land on a website that hasn’t been maintained in years, it makes them wonder whether or not the center is still in business. This is especially true with the recent COVID-19 pandemic. This can turn customers away and cost your center thousands of dollar in business.

If the center is closed, due to weather, a private event or a pandemic remember that your website is the only link your customers have to you to find out the status of reopening. Many centers have used the mandatory COVID-19 closure to perform maintenance on the lanes and building. This is also the perfect opportunity to go page-by-page and link-by-link to make sure that your website is fresh, current and correct.   This could also include changing out the photos or adding new content to reengage the audience.

Visualize your website through the eyes of the customer you are trying to attract.   Tap into the things that matter to that audience. For example, the Corporate Party page should be extra polished, professional and easy to maneuver. Customers viewing this page are often short on time and expect a professional presentation. On the other hand, the number one viewer of the Birthday Party page is Moms. The page should be bright, fun, and should feature things that matter most to moms such as convenience, fun for everyone, safe environment and what is in it for the guest of honor.

The pandemic has made it more important than ever to review and update your website. Don’t let something as simple as an outdated website cost you business. Take time to review your website and make sure the message it tells customers is a true representation of the experience the center offers. Turn your website into your #1 marketing and sales tool. Communication is a key to success and a website is a large part of the center’s communication with customers and potential customers. So…give your website a little tender loving care and make sure that the impression you are leaving customers with is the one you intend.

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